Animal Models of Anesthetic Action

Evaluation of the potential for new chemical entities as potential anesthetics typically involves a behavioral assessment of the loss of righting reflex45 or, more recently, electro encephalogram (EEG) recording.46 Loss of righting can be measured by administering anesthetic either in a barometric chamber or in emulsion form via a cannula in the tail vein. Immediately after anesthetic administration, the animal is placed on its back and considered anesthetized if it fails to right itself within 30 s of the injection. An animal that rights itself is deemed as being awake. Alternatively anesthesia can be assessed by the ability of an induced animal to stand on all four limbs when placed in a rolling cylinder. Dose-response curves can be used to determine the MAC. Using techniques similar to those used in the study of sleep, rodents implanted with miniaturized transmitters can be used to record EEG and electromyogram (EMG) waveforms to determine doses that elicit classical changes in the EEG signal. Arterial blood pressure and temperature can also be recorded. EEG-based approaches can also be used in conjunction with nociceptive stimuli, e.g., unprovoked and provoked righting reflexes.

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